Thursday, 5 November 2009

What the Media and Republicans Don't Tell You About the West

A Navigator poll, released a few weeks ago, indicated that Canadians don't feel our Constitutional Monarchy is relevant anymore. (Most Canadians probably think Harper, Ignatieff, Duceppe and Layton aren't relevant either, but our disconnection from civic life is another post.)

Since the Navigator poll was leaked, national media have been trying to push the idea that Charles, Prince of Wales or his heir, William, will not be King of Canada. They neglected to cite other polls, such as one on CBC's own website that had results opposite to the Navigator poll cited on The National. (That too is another post.) And they've downplayed the crowds in Hamilton, who screamed "We want the Duchess" and "We want the Prince in favour of snide comments about attendence in towns of less than 500 people." (Another post.)

A few day later, Global News released another poll, which the claimed more than 50% of Canadians favoured a republic. They also didn't explain discrepancies in two questions, both asked whether or not Canada should keep the Crown with different results. (Canadian confusion with what a Head of State is, after years of a deceitful agenda by elites to confuse Canadians on this issue is yet another post.)

What Global failed to highlight was that no province, other than Quebec, had more than 50% of poll respondents wanting any change to the constituon. Only British Columbia approached the 50% mark. Yet another, under-reported poll last week suggested BC is pro-Crown. (I need to do a post about how a stint with a polling company led me to distrust polls. I do not believe you get accurate results on constitutional questions in a telephone poll.)

The Province most strongly supportive of the monarchy, according to the Global News poll,is Alberta, In Alberta, 60% of poll respondents rejected a Canadian republic outright. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Maritimes showed similar results. (This means that the Quebec figure, 60% support for a republic, skews the poll results.

Interesting to note that 40% support the Crown in this 81% Franco-phone province, even after decades of anti-Canada, anti-British propaganda. That result puts to lie the idea that no Quebec Francophones supporters the Crown. (Another post.)

What Canadians aren't told by Republicans:
The role of the Crown in Canada cannot be changed without the consent of the Federal Parliament and all provincial legislatures. I suspect Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories would also insist on being heard if such a major move is ever considered.

Why? The Crown plays a crucial balancing and linking role in Canada. It is the vehicle by which former independent colonies (with their own legislatures and laws) became united in the federation formally known as the Dominion of Canada (Dominion means Kingdom, not colony, by the way.) Provinces, favouring retention of the monarchy, would be well within their rights to secede from a new republic. These new nations might decide to form a new federation or they might become independent Dominions in the Commonwealth. (Although the assumption is that secession from Canada means loss of the Crown, there is absolutely nothing that says an independent Alberta could not be Dominion within the Commonwealth. And if that possiblity were presented, you might well see support for that type of arrangement surge beyond the 15% rating Separation now has in Alberta.)

Canada's place in The Commonwealth, much denigrated under CDN Liberal and ignored by UK Labour regimes, of the past 50 years, has great trade and culture potential for all Canadians. The answer to weak ties between Commonwealth countries is not to sever them, but to revive them. (Another post.)

It took the Fathers of Confederation decades to create an agreement which united British North America.

Our Federation is possible because we separate the Head of State from the Head of Government. And because that Head of State is not partisan. (Nor should her representatives be. Another post.) The Fathers of Confederation went to considerable effort to devise a federation in which one party, one region, one religion, one ethnic or language group could not trample on the rights of citizens and regions.

Electing a Head of State would make that role a partisan one. It would also lead the devaluing of Members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister, and the accumulation of power in the hands of an elected President or Governor General. Undoubtedly, this person would appeal to the political whims of provinces with large populations.

Canada's federal system, so delicately balanced, would be even more prone to tensions and threats of separation from regions not represented by the new elected Head of State.

Republicans seem to think republicanism is a sign of maturity. They suggest that Canadians, who value our Constitution and Canada's traditonal friendships, are out of date and neo-colonial in their thinking.

That is an elitist view. It smacks of the elitist decisions that nearly broke up this country up in the late 20th Century. And it derides the rights of peoples in smaller provinces and the territories to be equal partners in the federation called Canada.

Remember Meech Lake? Charlottetown? Those agreements failed because people in the provinces,including Indigenous peoples who have a special role with the Crown, (Another post,) realized that the elites' agenda to change the rules of Confederation were not in Canadians interests.

Canadians learned something for those horrendous episodes: We don't have to accept what the elites are telling us. We don't have to leave provinces behind (as Quebec was left in the night of the long knives.) It is unlikely Canadians will be cowed by threats and insults telling them to 'get with the times,' when getting with the times means losing constitutional rights.

Should there ever be a real discussion of any Constitutional change regarding the role of the Crown, many Canadians (including Quebecois) who now claim a 'lukewarm' affinity to the Crown may suddenly find themselves with a deep and abiding love for the system that has protected ethnic and religious miniorities and small communities since Confederation.

Our system may look funny to outsiders, but, I believe, most Canadians have moved beyond a childish desire to impress Americans or Europeans. Canada works. Canada is a prosperous, peaceful country. Canada has international links that should be deepened, not eliminated, thanks to her place as a realm in the Commonwealth.

Even though Elites have tried to refute the role of the Crown in building Canada, the wisdom of great Canadians remains. Western Canada's most loved Liberal Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, explained our country to the French this way: "Here in France, people are surprised at the attachment French Canadians feel for the Queen. We are faithful to the great nation which has given us liberty."

God Save the Queen! God Bless Canada!

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